Care home feedback reviews go online in Newport

Kelvin and Gail Morris
Image caption Kelvin and Gail Morris have given the scheme a cautious welcome

A scheme encouraging people to use a Trip Advisor-style website to improve care home standards is being launched in Newport.

The Think About Me: Good Care Guide is paying for more information about care homes to be added to an existing review website in an effort to boost feedback.

Negative reviews are sent to care homes for a response before both comments are posted online.

Some campaigners have given the nine-month trial a cautious welcome.

They say a "scores on the doors" system, similar to that used for food hygiene ratings, would be better.

Kelvin and Gail Morris, from Hengoed near Caerphilly, are part of the Justice for Jasmine group, set up following the collapse of the biggest ever investigation into alleged neglect at care homes, Operation Jasmine.

Mrs Morris says her aunt was left for hours on her own and neglected in a care home more than 10 years ago.

Referring to the new web service, she said good reviews on the site would need to be policed as much as bad reviews to prevent people from being misled.

"It can be abused, this system of 1 to 5 ratings - it's a good idea but I don't know if it'll work.

"Everything has to be checked and double checked before its going to be a complete success I think."


Mr Morris said the scheme has some merit, adding that he struggled to find information about care homes for his 92-year-old mother last year.

"You need to know about things like complaints, turnover of staff, what will they do to settle your mum or dad - none of these things you know until you go, see and talk to people to hear their verbal opinions," he said.

"It's a start, but I would advocate that a rating system should be mandatory for homes… you get a score on the door just like the food hygiene rating, which we've seen the improvement in restaurants that people will want to improve to attract people.

"If you see a low score on the door of a nursing home and your relative is in there, aren't you going to ask more questions?"

The project is funded by the Health Technology Challenge Wales Awards, a scheme which looks to technology to find solutions to health issues.

Other websites offer users the chance to review care homes, but the Good Care Guide site said it contacts care homes for their feedback too, and is happy to publish non-abusive negative reviews.

It has the support of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and some councils in the south east Wales area.

Tanya Strange, from the health board, said: "Residents and relatives will be able to leave feedback about the home and this will enable providers to respond quickly to that feedback.

"Lots of organisations with an interest in care homes have come together to develop this initiative where people can review care through the eyes of those living there and make informed decisions."

Health Minister Mark Drakeford is launching the guide with carer home providers and families at the Christchurch Centre, Newport, on Monday.

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